Possession with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and Narcotics Violation in a School Zone: Dismissed.
Three police officers assigned to a gang task force unit were conducting surveillance in a known crime area. The officers were parked in an unmarked cruiser watching what they suspected to be a drug transaction. Officers observed two men emerge from a house, exit a driveway on foot and walk away. Moments later, officers saw a third man emerge from the same house, exit the drive way and walk off in the opposite direction. Officers slowly followed the third man who they believed to be a drug dealer. The man walked in an obscure pattern, up and down various streets, and back and forth in multiple directions in an alleged attempt to avoid police. As officers approached closer, they seized the man. Officers informed him they suspected he had just conducted a drug transaction and proceeded to search his person. The officers seized a large bag from inside the man’s pocket, which contained multiple smaller bags of marijuana. The man was then placed under arrest and charged with Possessing with Intent to Distribute Marijuana and committing a Narcotics Violation within a 1000 Feet of a School (i.e. School Zone Violation), a charge that carries a mandatory minimum jail sentence of two (2) years. Attorney Calcagni filed a motion to suppress on the man’s behalf. The purpose of the motion was to challenge the legality of the police officers’ conduct leading up to the man’s arrest, and specifically, the seizure of man on the roadside and subsequent search of his person. Moments prior to the arresting officer taking the witness stand at a suppression hearing, Attorney Calcagni successfully advocated that both this case and its charges be dismissed based on the officers’ unlawful conduct. The Court approved the dismissal.